Making history: Lovely signs with Marshall

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SALYERSVILLE - Jaren Lovely made history on Wednesday, Nov. 9 as he became the first Magoffin County High School student-athlete to sign to play baseball for an NCAA Division I program. During a ceremony held in the Magoffin County High School Library, Lovely made his college choice official, signing with Marshall University. 

Lovely chose Huntington, W.Va.-based Marshall over in-state schools Western Kentucky and Morehead State. He’s projected to play in the outfield for the Thundering Herd. He could possibly man center field for the Marshall baseball team.  

With his versatility, it’s also possible Lovely could pitch during his college career. 

As a junior earlier in the year, Lovely hit .485 for the Magoffin County baseball team. He compiled a 7-2 pitching record, registering 70 strikeouts for the Hornets. Over the summer, Lovely played for the Huntington Hounds. He’s suited up for a Huntington Hounds team since he was 14. 

Lovely will enter his senior season with the Magoffin County baseball team as one of the state’s top players. Following his signing, a humble Lovely acknowledged the many talented players that came before him at Magoffin County High School. “There’s been a lot of good players come through here,” Lovely commented. 

Now, Lovely is Magoffin County’s first NCAA Division I baseball signee. 

Currently, Jaren Lovely is preparing for his senior season with the Magoffin County boys’ basketball program. The Hornets are preparing to play in two preseason scrimmages in five days. A proven leader on the baseball diamond and basketball hardwood, Lovely will start hitting and throwing in preparation for the 2017 high school baseball season in January.

According to Jeff Lovely, Jaren Lovely’s father, Morehead State was recruiting the Magoffin County standout student-athlete as a two-way baseball player. 

Marshall competes in Conference USA, which also features Florida Atlantic, Southern Miss, Rice, Louisiana Tech, Old Dominion, Florida International, Charlotte, UAB, Western Kentucky, UTSA and Middle Tennessee. 

Marshall Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator Josh Newman recruited Lovely. Newman is set to enter his fourth season as the Marshall baseball program’s pitching coach and is in his first year as head recruiting coordinator. Newman mentored Chase Boster, the all-time winningest pitcher in Marshall history. In 2016, three pitchers from his staff were drafted in the 2016 MLB Draft. Prior to the coming to the Herd, Newman was a volunteer assistant at Ohio State, Newman spent three seasons on the Buckeye coaching staff after being hired in 2010.

The Herd baseball program is under the direction of head coach Jeff Waggoner. In 10 seasons, 33 Marshall players/signees have been given a chance to play at the professional level under Waggoner, including major leaguers Dan Straily (2009, 24th round – Oakland A’s) and Aaron Blair (2013, first supplemental round – 36th overall – Arizona Diamondbacks). Waggoner has won over 230 games in his coaching career. 

The 2016 campaign was a record season for Marshall under the instruction of Waggoner. The Herd notched a program-record 34 wins, including a win over 17th-ranked Florida Atlantic. Marshall also set a program record 21 wins in Conference USA play. Marshall boasted its highest RPI of 60. Waggoner received the Keith LeClair Coach of the Year Award from C-USA. The Thundering Herd lineup featured three C-USA All-Conference first team players (Chase Boster, DJ Gee, Tommy Lane), one C-USA All-Conference second team player (Corey Bird) and a member to the All-Freshman Team (Joshua Shapiro). Lane was selected as the Newcomer of the Year for Marshall. The Herd also found success in the classroom with a 3.01 GPA during the fall semester.

The Jaren Lovely-led Magoffin County baseball team is scheduled to open its 2017 season in March.